Union successfully negotiates payment options for employee-paid criminal records check

HEU successfully resolved the outstanding issue of how its members are expected to pay the $20 fee for a criminal records check, a condition of employment for those working with, or having unsupervised access to, children.

As a result, health authorities must provide an option for an alternate method of payment – that may include cash, cheque, credit card or pre-authorized payroll deduction (or a combination). Members should consult with their employer to review available options.

In a December 9 decision, an arbitrator ruled that the $20 criminal records check fee – previously paid by employers until this past spring – was now the responsibility of each employee, and not their employer. The union had filed a grievance, based on past practice, arguing the fee was a business cost, and should continue being covered by health authorities.

The union also maintained that the Employment Standards Act prohibits an employer from requiring that these types of fees be paid through payroll authorization – something health authorities were trying to make mandatory, and some even threatened to discipline employees who refused to sign payroll deduction consent forms.

Changes to the CriminalRecords Review Act, which go into effect on December 30, include an expanded list of offences to be checked, and an increased frequency of checks to every five years.